Finding a balance between CONSTANT bad political news, being vigilant, and the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 4/2017

In a recent Saturday Night Live sketch, the President of the United States (played by Alec Baldwin) faces off against the three judges who stopped his executive order travel ban – in, of all places, “The People’s Court” TV show. It’s an over-the-top, silly skit, but also topical. Cecily Strong, who played the TV judge, said these words which were not only hilarious, they RESONATED:

“I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me.”

And suddenly, a political comedy sketch became real.

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Election 2016: Time To Look In The Mirror

Image of the United States from space -- (nasa.gov)
Image of the United States from space — (nasa.gov)

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 11/2016

No matter who you voted for, no matter whether you’re happy or not with the result, consider this – The United States is a country horrifically divided. This is not a new situation, but made abundantly clear in the 2016 election season.

On Election Night, about 100 million people voted, about 50 million or so for each candidate.

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Election 2016: My Public Service Announcement about Write-Ins for President in Massachusetts

PLEASE do not write-in cartoon characters, ineligible names, or protest statements in the write in field in Massachsuetts
PLEASE do not write-in cartoon characters, ineligible names, or protest statements in the write in field in Massachusetts.

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 10/2016

November 8 is Election Day – and I’d like to talk write-in ballots, specifically for Massachusetts.

First, a disclaimer: I am not endorsing any candidate here; when a real name is mentioned it is NOT an endorsement or statement about that person – I am using familiar names for example purposes only.

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Thoughts on the upcoming Foxboro Town Election, 2016 and the lost art of conversation

ballotby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 3/2016

At this writing, it has been just a few hours since the deadline for candidates to submit their papers to Town Hall to be part of the election that will be held on May 2.

While the presidential election has already drained me, I care deeply about the annual Foxboro election. While there IS an argument to be made that one vote really doesn’t count in a presidential election due to the Electoral College, EVERY vote cast in the local election can make a difference.

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A challenge to the voters of Foxboro: READ your local newspaper, speak up, and VOTE on election day!

The Foxboro Reporter
The Foxboro Reporter

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2015

Greetings friends. Before I begin this op Ed, I need to make the usual disclosure:

First, I am not an employee of the Foxboro Reporter, or the Sun Chronicle. I am what is called a contributor or stringer – I have been writing columns in this space since 1997, then and now I consider it a great privilege to share my words with such a large audience; it is a partnership I cherish and one that I hope continues for many years to come.

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What if they gave an election in Foxboro and most everyone stayed home?

ballotby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 5/2014

So before I go on my little rant here… A full disclosure so I’m not a hypocrite.

I didn’t vote last Monday.

Yep, the guy who moderated candidate’s night and is always reminding everyone what a privilege it is to be able to vote didn’t show up at the polls Monday May 5, 2014.

But I had a good excuse — I didn’t vote on Monday because Saturday, my car broke down with a bad case of shredded serpentine belt, broken water pump and wasn’t going anywhere.

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I’m moderating Foxboro Jaycees Candidates Night LIVE on Foxboro Cable Access 4/10/2014 – please watch, meet the candidates, and please vote!

Moderating candidates
Moderating candidates Night last year (2013)

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 3/2014

One of the many benefits I enjoy as a member of the Foxboro Jaycees is to participate in community development projects and other programs that have a direct benefit to the town of Foxboro. One such privilege is coming up this April 10 at 7 p.m.: Candidates night, on Foxboro Cable Access.

For over 20 years, the Foxboro Jaycees have held this program at FCA, which is filmed there LIVE and broadcast repeatedly until Election Day.

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2014 Foxboro Town Politics: Time to take a breath…

Entering Foxboro Signby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 2/2014

While I am not a Foxboro townie, I have lived here 23 years. And like those lifelong residents who will tell you that Foxboro has changed so much that since they were a child, I have observed that Foxboro has changed a lot in the two decades I have lived here.

My observation has been the Foxboro is a town of paradox. Like the Bruce Springsteen song, we do indeed “take care of our own”, not just through community service and fraternal organizations, not just through the discretionary fund, not just through thousands of small acts of kindness, but in every way that matters.

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Re-Elect Lynda Walsh for Foxboro Selectman

Lynda Walsh
Lynda Walsh

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter as a Letter to the Editor (political op/eds for regular columnists not allowed) in 4/2010

To the editor,

My dear friend Lynda Walsh is running for re-election for selectman, and I encourage you to vote for her on Election Day.

Lynda and I have been Jaycees for about the same length of time (1993) and she is more than a fellow Jaycee–she is a leader, a true friend, a confidant.

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Presidential Inauguration Worth Every Penny As A New Era Dawns in America

US Capitalby Robert Gillis Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City paper, January 2009

The cost of President Barack Obama’s inauguration — estimated at some $170 million dollars — has been (for some) a heated topic. Many have argued — reasonably — how can the government spend such a huge amount of money on such a lavish ceremony during these terrible economic times? One letter-writer to the Boston Herald said a simple swearing in at the White House would have been just fine and set an example that cost-cutting begins at the top.

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Decisions are made by those who show up. This November 4, VOTE!

12 America - US Flag flying at Hull Yacht ClubBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper 10/2008

Global warming. Taxes. Guns. Immigration. Iraq. Energy. Environment. Economy. Gay marriage. Free speech. Free choice. My rights. Your rights. Show up or shut up. Vote!

The above quote appeared in a recent Boston Phoenix ad and it caught my eye. It’s succinct, powerful, and I like it because no matter what your opinion on any of the topics mentioned, the ad reminds us that 1) There’s a lot at stake in this election; 2) Decisions are made by those who show up and vote.

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Re-Elect Bob Hickey for Foxboro Selectman


By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2008

I’ve known Bob Hickey for 15 years, both as member of the Foxboro Jaycees and also as a friend.

When he was president of the chapter, I was struck by his attention to detail, his command of seemingly every area of governing our organization, and his good nature and sense of humor, both which served him well to keep things running smoothly and to resolve problems. His enthusiasm at Jaycee events was contagious.

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Lynda Walsh for Foxboro Selectman


By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2007

For many years, one of my personal, unwritten rules for this column was that I would not endorse candidates for political office.

I did this for several reasons. First, even as a 16 year resident of Foxboro, I would never endorse someone I didn’t know. I’ve never even met many of our town officials. Second, much of the inner workings of town politics and the who’s who, are still somewhat unknown to me.

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Regarding the constitutional amendment to outlaw flag burning…

American Flagsby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper July, 2006

Last week, by a single vote, the Senate failed to pass a proposed constitutional amendment to ban desecrating the American flag.

Many Americans would agree that the issue was far more political than patriotic. CNN reported that, “The measure was the latest in a series of controversial election-year votes engineered by the chamber’s GOP leaders in an effort to entice the party’s conservative base to the polls in November.”

Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), who approved the flag-burning prohibition, went further, comparing flag desecration to libel and pornography.

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Thoughts on Election 2000

Cover of Newsweek Magazine, November 20, 2000.  Copyright Newsweek.
Cover of Newsweek Magazine, November 20, 2000. Copyright Newsweek.

By Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter November 2000

What an exciting and fascinating time this is. No one alive has ever seen a United States presidential election like this one — a virtual dead heat, a call for recounts, a collective citizenry seemingly speaking about nothing else.

Last week, I went into the country store to buy my morning Coca-Cola, and witnessed two seniors debate the legality of a new election.

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